Becoming George Clooney (in three steps)

This week's The American has us revisiting crucial moments of his career.

0

Comments

Add +

OUT OF SIGHT (1998)
Before Steven Soderbergh cast him in this hip adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel, Clooney was being written off as another handsome TV actor who wasn’t major-league material. This pulp romance, however, changed that perception permanently. Though the film wasn’t a hit, it helped Clooney establish a persona—ironic but charming, self-deprecating but debonair—that brought to mind a ’90s variation on Cary Grant’s smooth operator. Watch him make small talk with Jennifer Lopez in a car trunk, or sling tough-guy barbs at Don Cheadle without losing his cool, and you feel as if Clooney’s finally cracked the leading-man code. Better roles were on the horizon, but this is where he found his big-screen groove.—DF

Next

Read our review of The American.

See more in Film


O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? (2000)
In a year that saw Clooney experimenting with a live TV broadcast (Fail Safe) and proving his box-office mettle (The Perfect Storm), he also appeared in this joyously idiosyncratic feature from the Coen brothers, an adaptation of Homer’s The Odyssey. Clooney’s pomo Ulysses is an endearingly cud-chewing caricature (bluegrass singer, con artist, estranged husband), and the actor effortlessly navigates the film’s tonal shifts—from broad farce to musical revue to passion play. Clooney’s uninhibited delight in the role is always evident; no longer called upon to be default sexy and sensitive, he shows he’s more than just a pretty face.—KU

Previous | Next

Read our review of The American.

See more in Film


MICHAEL CLAYTON (2007)
The Ocean’s movies paid the bills, while repeat visits to directors like the Coens maintained Clooney’s artistic cred (as did an auspicious directing breakthrough, 2005’s Good Night, and Good Luck). Still, by 2007, a mostly undiscovered country stretched out before the A-lister—that of age, vanity and the richness of roles requiring regret. This Lumet-worthy corporate thriller was the turning point. Clooney’s title attorney, a fixer who has swam in dirty waters long enough to desire a rinse-off, displayed a new, complexly cynical performer, able to span braininess and bitterness within a single scene. Clooney’s lingering close-up in a cab, the silent moment that closes out the movie, is the actor’s arrival at greatness.—JR

Previous

Read our review of The American.

See more in Film

Users say